Philippines president cites importance of strong bilateral, multilateral alliances

Jun. 12, 2007

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored today the need to build and foster strong alliances on a bilateral and multilateral basis to ensure greater political, economic and military security.

The President led the diplomatic corps in a toast to the future of the Philippines and to international solidarity during the Vin D Honneur in celebration of the 109th anniversary of Philippine Independence held at Malacanangs Rizal Hall.

“It is now more important than ever to build alliances on a bilateral and multilateral basis to ensure greater political, economic and military security,” she said.

She said the Philippines struggle today is to “build closer, principled and mutually rewarding engagement with other nations,” a very different struggle from that of 109 years ago when Filipinos were fighting for freedom and independence from colonialism.

“With the help of sincere allies like you, we shall continue to break free from the shackles that pin us down—poverty, divisiveness, terrorism, despondencyuntil one day, perhaps twenty years from now, we shall join the ranks of the first world nations among you,” the President said.

She pointed out that the Philippine economy is “strong and stable” following the implementation of tough economic and political reforms needed to generate more revenue and improve the governments fiscal position.

“Our economy has reached a new level of maturity with some of the strongest macroeconomic fundamentals in a generation. The Philippines offers one of the best values and best places to invest in Asia,” the President said.

She also vowed to work harder and remain focused “on pro-growth, pro-trade and pro-investment strategies” to attract more investments that would create new jobs for the Filipinos and thereby uplift peoples lives.

Saying that security is essential for the country to achieve economic prosperity, the President assured the diplomatic community that the security situation in the country has “improved substantially” both in the fight against domestic and regional terrorism.

She added that the peace process in Mindanao has achieved a milestone with a new paradigm for peace through the use of hard and soft power with the support of international organizations and nations, including the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, European Union, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and lately, Sweden.

Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines and dean of the diplomatic corps in the country, expressed the diplomatic communitys “felicitations and best wishes” to the President and to the Filipino people on the occasion of the countrys 109th Independence Day celebration.

Noting the 6.9 percent growth in the economy, the strongest in 17 years, Archbishop Filoni expressed the confidence of the diplomatic community in the Presidents ability to further grow the economy.

Filoni also pointed out that interfaith dialogue of which the President is a leading advocate, is very important in the resolution of religious and ethnic conflicts.

Philippine media reported today that the Papal Nuncio has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the Vaticans undersecretary of state for general affairs. (OPS) (

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